Posted on 2 July 2013 with categories: Anime Reviews, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet



Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building.

What this show managed to do really well is create a culture for the people who live on these ships, complete with customs, a new religion, a clothe style, a way of behavior. They use the technologically advanced culture well to explore this culture by clashing it, and show the differences. The show can keep this up, and it definitely has some interesting ideas to explore.

The shame is that this is a 13-episoded series that really just needed 26 episodes. It’s not rushed because of that, but it does have pacing issues, and glosses over a lot, and doesn’t really get to explore this setting to its fullest.Same goes for the characters: there are some good ones here: Ledo and his AI have this really good chemistry, and the acting in general is also quite good and down to earth… with some notable exceptions though. There are a number of annoying characters, and really weird character character-decisions that don’t make much sense. The storyline has nice ideas on one hand, but it does get a bit boring and redundant at others. Especially the beginning is good, and the conclusion also has its moments, but in the middle there are a few episodes that could have been better used; they waste too much time.

It’s a solidly produced series, and the creators managed to make this show stand out with tis visuals that manage to remain expressive. Gargantia is a show with issues, but I personally think that the pros weigh over the cons and it’s worth a watch. Just don’t go out of your way to watch it though, because there just are better series.
One-Sentence Review: Good world-building and characterization versus some big pacing issues causing this show to not get the full potential out of its ingredients, by far.
Suggestions:
Blue Submarine No.06
Heat Guy J
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Posted on with categories: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

So here we have the conclusion of Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet. Overall I’d have to say that it’s a solid ending, but nothing special. The animation in the final episode was very well done, and the whole bond between Ledo and Chamber really stood out as the best (even though it’s kindof weird that Chamber died… seeing as how he’s an AI and could easily have survived if he just copied his personality to that escape pod or something).

The evil robot who took control over humanity was definitely a more solid final conflict than “the Hideazu are human”, It was very sudden though, and acted like how everything was just wrapped up neatly… even though a ton of people died. Seriously, this show was more dramatic about the Hideazu being human (even though they were more than guilty of their own things) than the murder of tons of innocent people.

But yeah, as the final conflict… it does feel like we just skimmed the surface here. Gargantia should have been 24 episodes long, because the creators can actually do very nice things if they continue to build up from here. With this though, it just feels like too much is missing, and none of the characters really got their chance to show their growth, apart from Ledo perhaps, but even he feels like he can become better with another season. He may have changed, but he doesn’t really feel rounded still. This is why I feel like the perfect length for a series is 26 episodes: it’s neither too short nor too long; it has enough time to develop its characters really well, and it also needs to pace itself properly so there is little chance of dragging on. But yeah, that does require budget, and the producers probably didn’t manage to gather enough for 2 cours.

As for the overall writing itself… I’d say that this story is Urobuchi Gen’s worst written story, save for perhaps Blassreiter. It was definitely lighter than what he wrote before, but what I missed here was the character-development, going back to what I said before. All of his other adaptations so far had development that made some sort of impact, even on a shorter story. This one mostly had its world building, and while it was well-done, the setting wasn’t THAT special.
Rating: 4,5/8 (Good)

Posted on 13 June 2013 with categories: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

Aah, the build-up. The thing is, this episode on its own was really good. Here you can really see that Urobuchi Gen wrote this, in the cold way he analyzes his settings, and he really has a character who is as objective as possible, setting aside any personal bias you might have. That part on its own ws really well written.

Gen loves to use this cold, realistic and objective character on one side, and a naive (but not stereotypically naive) character on the other. The fact that this character is not stereotypically naive is important: this prevents cheese. Ledo went from this cold-hearted guy to someone with a lot of empathy. The thing is that I have trouble buying that he changed so radically. He was very well able to think rationally: the fact remains that the Hideazu have threatened the existence of humankind. I can understand that he would feel conflicted about killing humans, but he didn’t even try to consider both options. That was a missed opportunity I feel.

I believe that Gargantia would have been best if it was about a season and a half long. As weird as it sounds, the creators should have had more episodes like number 6 and 7, dedicated to explain exactly why the characters in this series changed, the way they did. Right now the character-development is great, but a bit out of left field. Pinion for example: he was this normal guy until last episode suddenly revealed that he has this big trauma with his lost brother, and now suddenly he’s leading his own ship that takes over pirate ships and… stuff. Note though: these are nitpicks. Overall I like this series a lot.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on 7 June 2013 with categories: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

So in these two episodes Gargantia gets back on track. For starters, I really thought that that captain dying was just a minor plot point: something that had to happen, but would be glossed over pretty quickly. Instead the creators dedicate nearly an entire episode to it. And it was really good: it showed what an impact death can have for such a fleet. It showed how some people didn’t have confidence in the new captain, and therefore roke up. It had a much bigger impact than I thought it would, and not just for plot related reasons. I think that that episode was really well put together.

The episode after that showed the real identity of the hideazu. It’s a twist that reminded me a lot about a certain other show which I’m not going to mention here for the sake of spoilers. I mean, what’s important here is not the twist itself, but the context: what does it mean for the actual plot? Well, for that it’s a bit shoehorned. I’m not suddenly feeling sorry for Ledo that he killed what once were a bunch of humans, because really: that just looks down on actual wars, and I don’t really understand why he suddenly felt sorry: these ARE the creaturs who threatened his race to extinction.

However, for world building, it was great. Heck show me more about those Hideazu who were genetically engineered humans. They sound interesting! Their backstory as humanity’s last hope of surviving the ice age sounds definitely interesting. Okay, it’s a bit far-fetched, but I like the ideas.

Overall, you can see tha the individual episode directors of this series got some freedom: there is definitely some general pacing and continuous story, but every episode has a slightly different atmosphere and tone. I’m not sure whether this really is the right formula for this series, but at the very least things are looking better than the previous episodes again. Still, I think that the pacing here could have been a little smoother.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

Posted on 23 May 2013 with categories: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

So I understand… some of the intentions behind episode five and six. Really, the logic behind the big picture is more than apparent: we needed time to show Ledo getting accustomed to this new culture he ended up at. We needed a chance for the viewers to get a good view of the Gargantia without any drama in it, until that squid came and Ledo had to stir things up again. I like the outcome, but the way in which they got there was a bit weird.

The thing is, that these episodes just weren’t interesting to watch. The creators really could have spent their time better there, instead of going on and on about the random fanservice. They could have used that time to show some geniune and everyday interactions between the characters. Instead they went with a beach episode and silly dances. Sorry, but that just feels shallow. Especially in two consecutive episodes. The creators can write more interesting episodes.

Episode seven thankfully returned to the real business, and I really like what happened. It’s a great twist that the Hideazu have pretty much already settled down on earth, they just chose not to act for now, for whatever reason. Whether they chose to coexist and have something against fancy technology, or they’re just waiting for the right opportunity still remains a question. It’s because of this that Ledo’s actions aren’t inherently wrong; he just acted really rashly.

Convenient heart attack aside, this episode was full of people clashing with each other based on a lot of different values, whether cultural or practical. On one hand there are the Hideazu who have a status as gods, then there is Ledo’s duty, that girl’s personal preference for not wanting to see the guy in a battle, the captain’s concern for the whole population of the gargantia and then there are these economists willing to take a risk for a possible treasure that will benefit the entire Gargantia in the long run. All of them clash together. That really feels like Urobuchi Gen again.
Rating: 3,5/8 (Enjoyable for episodes 5 and 6), 5.5/8 (Excellent for episode 7)

Posted on 3 May 2013 with categories: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

I made a really big mistake when first judging this series by its trailer: I thought that the characters looked really generic. In the end that turned out to be the big strength of this series. The thing with the character here is that they don’t try to force their quirks onto the viewer. Because of that they seem plain at first, but this show managed to flesh them out quite well here. You can see that all characters are based on some kind of idea, but when you look at them, they are more than just that idea. The ones who received attention, anyway.

I really liked this episode, which was all about exploring the cultural differences. On one hand there is Led with his military training and education, and on the other there is the social community on the Gargantia. I really liked how much inefficiencies Ledo saw in the way everyone operated (even though he too had trouble fitting in at times). The development of him fitting in is slow, but he’s constantly changing so far. I also really like how he’s beginning to pick up the language.

Also, yay for continuity. A hole in a roof stays broken until it gets fixed. And it doesn’t just get magically fixed, it takes resources that come from somewhere. That’s what I’m looking for: those kinds of details. It’s a shame that this show only has 12 episodes to flesh out its setting, because the creators are on their way, digging for gold, though the question is whether they’ll reach it in time.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 25 April 2013 with categories: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

This show… it feels like a bit of a combination between Ghibli and Last Exile. But things like the pirates (especially that pirate queen), the atmosphere, the sense of adventure. You can really see that this show takes a lot of cues from them, while at the same time using Leda to create its own identity.

This episode built up some very good suspense of disbelief with how it dealt about the deaths of those pirates last episode. It really put emphasis that that would have some very dire consequences, and that they’re basically at war with the pirates now. The rest of this episode took care of that quickly, but still it serves as a good build-up here. I doubt that that was the last that we’ve seen of them.

The thing right now is that that one robot is pretty much a godmode-button. Normally in storytelling this completely takes away all tension. And this will also go for this season, unless the creators do something with it. That brings us back to Urobuchi Gen, who obviously took that into account. The question now is: what will he do with it? Will he now focus on problems that can’t be solved with brute strength? Will he remain all-powerful, but will this turn into an exploration of the complications that this brings with it? Or will it pull in more people of Led’s kind, throwing the people of the Gargantia in the middle of a conflict that’s way above their heads?
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 17 April 2013 with categories: Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

Suisei no Gargantia, pretty much the best mecha series of the season. What I like best so far is how it’s more than just mecha: it’s just a story that has a mecha in it, it has a bit of gunplay in it, it has a bit of post apocalypse. It’s very varied and fleshed out. compare that to Majestic Prince, which feels very monotone, or Valvrave that just puts the tried and true school formula in a place where it doesn’t belong. Plus it’s the only show that can actually take itself seriously. That’s also a plus. I mean I like comedy as well and all, but comedy that feels out of place does more harm than good for me.

Not to say that this series is perfect though. The characters strangely remain teenagers, and the lead female in particular needs to be fleshed out more (though granted, she got a lot more tolerable in this second episode), and the same goes for the rest of the cast: aside from the male lead none really stands out so far, so the creators need to develop them somehow. Make them interesting.

What I liked about this show is that you can see that it’s going to escalate. That was quite cleverly done, in the way that those pirates were obliterated so easily without effort. It’s just the build-up to something much bigger and much worse, something that Urobuchi Gen tends to be good at. Though I’m not expecting a gore-fest, I am expecting that things will escalate somehow. It’s up to him to find a good way.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

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  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, May 31. 2016 04:47 AM)
    @Aidan That would certainly help, thanks. I certainly feel like I would’ve gotten more value out of my WiiU had more of my friends owned one, I hardly ever touched SSB, Mario Kart and the like. The only noteworthy game in the entirety of 2015 for me was Xenoblade CX.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, May 31. 2016 02:52 AM)
    @K-Off, If you want I can up you to an Admin if you like. Though you still won’t be able to install plugins. I ran into the problem where it requires a FTP password to update wordpress and install. Currently sending a message to psgels to see if he updates it or gives us the password.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, May 31. 2016 02:36 AM)
    I feel like I got a decent amount of use out of my Wii U. Seeing as I bought it secondhand it didn’t exactly cost me a whole lot. I got what I paid for mostly out of the Nintendo exclusives.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, May 30. 2016 09:27 PM)
    @Swa For sure, I expect my low expectations to sink even lower now that Nintendo’s already announcing a new game system.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, May 30. 2016 09:21 PM)
    @swa Just my gamepad that’s busted to hell, decided to just get a new one.
    @Vonter Nope, didn’t pick Star Fox up after seeing some reviews. I’ve forgotten about the franchise entirely since that Star Fox 64 remake.
  • Vonter
    (Monday, May 30. 2016 08:50 PM)
    Not getting Mother 3 with GBA emulator will be disappointing to me considering the trend they have had over the passed two years of re-releasing games of that series by E3.
  • swa
    (Monday, May 30. 2016 08:24 PM)
    Meh… Can you really be disappointed with anything Wii U related anymore?
    I am waiting for my Fortisimo Edition to arrive, and I will enjoy it no matter what, even if I have to hypnotise myself to do it.
    PS: I’m quite positive you could even get a whole new Wii U for 150, after all I got mine new for 200 more than 3 years ago.
  • Vonter
    (Monday, May 30. 2016 08:20 PM)
    Have you tried Star Fox Zero. That one demands the gamepad. Although IMO more because of the gyroscope than the dual screen. I mainly swap screens according to my needs.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, May 30. 2016 08:46 AM)
    How pissed off will I be when I purchase Mirage Sessions and it turns out to relegate the gamepad screen to some map like so many other WiiU titles. It already seems like it’s incompatible with offscreen play, so that’s not a good sign.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, May 30. 2016 08:35 AM)
    Looking at my bill to fix my WiiU gamepad, total comes out to $150 at a local game shop…This is why having an overly high-tech glorified remote controller with a thousand things that can break is such a shit idea.

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